Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Zero Waste Cap Sleeved Tee for Kids

I'm really into the idea of zero waste sewing patterns and had a lot of fun preparing an episode about them for my podcast, Check Your Thread, a couple of months ago. I'd experimented with Birgitta's Helmersson's Cropped Shirt pattern which I had a lot of fun with, and I was keen to try more zero and low waste patterns. Thread Faction Studio is a Australia-based sewing pattern company that has a range of ZW patterns for children, and as far as I'm aware they are the only ones experimenting with zero and low waste patterns on a little scale (i.e. for kids). I've bought a couple of them and decided to start with the ZW cap sleeved tee pattern (pictured below) for my daughter because it looks like such a useful style.

(image source: Thread Faction)

I was also keen to try this one because it requires a really small amount of fabric! It's potentially a great way to make wearable pieces from strips of leftover jersey. The pattern can be oriented either along or across the grain, depending on what you have to hand, as long as the fabric has a four-way stretch. I cut this tee across the grain (so perpendicular to the usually way you'd position T-shirt pattern pieces), and it only required about 55cm of fabric for the size 8. As well as requiring a four-way stretch for this to work, you also have to keep in mind any print design, otherwise the resultant garment might look a bit odd. The fabric I chose for my daughter's top was a piece of slinky jersey with an abstract print design so I could get away with the alternative pattern positioning. 

The pattern actually more of a low rather than true zero waste pattern because the neckband strip isn't part of the tessellated layout of the other pieces. It's also unlikely that your fabric would be the exact width, but I can't see how a true zero waste pattern could be created whilst also offering a wide range of sizes (this pattern runs from ages 2-14). 

The only change I made was to cut the neckband deeper than the pattern called for. And because it's not part of the main rectangle formed by the other pattern pieces, you could easily cut it from a scrap of contrast jersey or ribbing from your stash, or even from the neckband harvested from an unwanted T-shirt. Putting the garment together was very fun, but also pretty fiddly. I made the size 8 and I wouldn't have enjoyed trying to stitch the neck or sleeve bands on a smaller size. 

My daughter wasn't thrilled about my plans when I showed her the pattern and fabric. However, she didn't outright veto it so I pushed on regardless. Now that it is complete, it has actually had quite a lot of wear already, and we're still in winter. I think she actually enjoys the feel of the slinky jersey, and the colours work pretty well when paired with a number of other garments. I'll definitely keep this pattern in mind when I'm next in possession of a suitable piece of fabric. 

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